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Langer Brands War Most Important Question in Modern World at Peace Mobilization of 500 in New Lecture Hall

Villard Emphasizes War Horror and Demands a Stronger Neutrality Policy


Last night's peace meeting, sponsored by ten Harvard organizations devoted to peace, received an enthusiastic response from approximately five hundred people in the New Lecture Hall. Shaun Kelly, in the words of the next speaker, Dean Hanford, passed a lateral which was in turn forwarded to Professor Langer who was to attempt to carry the cause across the goal line of peace.

Professor Langer spoke vigorously about his personal experiences and feelings during the last war, remarking that the sight of striken areas from which a terror-ridden civilian populace had to be evacuated made the ghastliness of war most apparant. Every man in his organization decided at the end of the war that he "would have nothing to do with war" in the future. The paradoxical rise and power of organizations like the American Legion he traced to psychological causes, such as the tendency to remember only the pleasant things, and to forget or gloss over the more horrible aspects of war. Further developing this psychological thesis, he said that when attempting to outlaw war, attractions such as escape from domestic and financial difficulties at home, and the breakdown of social conventions should be taken into account.

Squarely placing before his audience his belief that war was "the most important question before civilized man today", he filled in the economic background of war and foretold that the problem could only be solved by "careful study and hard work". The study of history convinced him that peaceful solutions can be arrived at by compromise and moreover, will be less of a loss economically and not bring in their train worldwide collapse and depression.

Oswald Garrison Villard, the second speaker, emphasised the horrors of the battlefield and declared that he was encouraged to see the youth of today protesting and organizing against war. Overseas he pointed to the vigorous action of Great Britain at Geneva, and the spectacle of fifty nations employing sanctions against an aggressor nation. Mr. Villard also found encouraging the fact of Great Britain's declaring herself for a readjustment, even of her own territories, in order to forward peace. Holding that "you can't advance righteousness by mass murder", the former editor of the Nation closed with an earnest plea to the student body to send messages to Congress in the next session demanding more adequate mandatory neutrality legislation.

The third speaker, Roger Baldwin, onetime conscientious objector, found the peace movement weak in colleges and weaker outside, although worthy in its aims. Lack of coherence and organization were two chief difficulties. More important, however, he declared, was the eternal division of the rich and poor, the haves and the havenots. Advancing this conception of history one stage farther, he declared that until socialism and communism dominated the world and the League, permanent peace could not be assured.


The "Harvard Mobilization Committee" passes out a questionnaire to all the members of the audience. The card asked two questions, First, "To support by every means at our disposal genuine neutrality legislation to prevent entanglement of the U. S. in war--." To this, 290 answered "yes," eight, "no," and one, "conditionally."

The second question was "To refuse to support the government of the U. S. in any war it may undertake." To this, 145 answered "yes," 111, "no," and eight "conditionally."

There was an announcement that the organizations sponsoring the meeting took no stand on the second question, the so-called Oxford Pledge.

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